A life of loneliness because of technology

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Even though we have all these technologies available at our fingertips, people are more lonely than ever.

It isn’t uncommon for folks to spend hours on social media and be highly depressed offline. The indices of loneliness in America are so high that many are now looking for a minister of loneliness in order to help them to cope with this very sad reality we live in these days.

Listen to me. All these technologies are making you live a worse life. Lately, I’ve heard people in Cleveland saying things like: “Having a child is too much work. I don’t want to spend time outside social media because it is so much more convenient to chat with people online than to engage in conversations offline. Why would anybody waste their time building a family? It is too expensive!”

I couldn’t believe my ears. Am I living in a nightmare, or is this the society we live in these days? I am afraid that we are living in the second option.

The smartphone is destroying us from within, literally. The number of people who have thousands of “friends” on Facebook who are paying for others to cuddle with them on Friday evenings is increasing by the day.

How ironic, isn’t it? The more social media we use, the less human contact we get, and therefore the more human contact people need.

In truth, what I am writing in this column isn’t that surprising, as a lack of human contact will eventually drive people bananas. We were not made to live in isolation as a species. Only a madman or madwoman would allow himself or herself to live a life with technology this way.

The relational side effects that we are witnessing in social media nowadays are real. I am afraid that our society will grow smaller and colder in personality because of these absurd levels of technology use.

Wouldn’t it make way more sense to use technology less, meet more people offline and grow a family so that when people get old, they have someone to care for them?

Come on people, it isn’t that complicated. Yet, people are complicating their own lives for the sake of technology everywhere, including in our small city. Social media is quickly turning into a cancer on our society. Why are we allowing cyberspace to consume our lives and make us less social?

I don’t know about you, but to me this is all nonsense. Have we gone mad or something? Maybe I am a bit too old-school by believing in God, family and good manners. There is just no way that in my household we are going to fold to the dangers of social media, including this latest trend of loneliness.

I may say “A,” and you might reply with “B” sometimes, but in the end, I argue, we better get along well and live within our community, and advance our innate need to procreate and live in harmony. Isn’t that what God has asked us to do anyway?

Say no to technological isolation and the idea that social media connections are de facto close connections.

Here is my philosophy: Live your life as if there is no tomorrow. Go meet people and expand your social capital offline. Have an online presence and chat with people in social media in moderation. Go to church, meet a mate, work hard and smart, and start a family. Glorify God and help others.

By doing these common-sense activities, you will help yourself in the process, and I can almost guarantee that you won’t be lonely. Remember: You only live once. You might as well be reasonable and don’t assume that your Facebook connections are really your friends.

Listen carefully: It ain’t worth the trouble to believe that all these technologies will make you more popular or together.

Sherry Turkle, MIT professor, coined the phrase “alone together” for a reason. Just because something is permissible doesn’t make it beneficial.

Go meet people offline and live your live to the fullest. As I always say, “Use social media, but in moderation.”

You don’t deserve to be lonely for the sake of technology. Got it?

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(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info.)

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